Friday, December 30, 2011

245 Bryter Layter- Love the Drake

Album: Bryter Layter
Artist: Nick Drake
Genre: Folk
Year: 1970


  1. Introduction
  2. Hazey Jane II
  3. At the Chime of a City Clock
  4. One of These Things First
  5. Hazey Jane I
  6. Bryter Layter
  7. Fly
  8. Poor Boy
  9. Northern Sky
  10. Sunday

At 245 we can all welcome the chance to enjoy another offering from Nick Drake, his second and his highest ranking on the countdown. Drake released three albums in his short and tragic life and every one of them is now regarded by Rolling Stone magazine as among the top 500 records ever made. Millions of records and CD's have been released in the history of recorded music but only 244 of them were considered by a panel of experts to be better than Bryter Later. And praise for this album isn't just a strange notion entertained by the writers of Rolling Stone. Q magazine ranked it 23 on the list of best British albums ever made, NME rated it the 14th best album of the seventies and I'm sure Mojo have it ranked on a list of "Best albums with a purple cover" or "Greatest CD's with deliberately mispelt titles", there's a list for pretty much everything nowadays.

While people are falling over themselves to praise it today, when it was released Bryter Later was a long way from a hit. In its year of release it sold less than 3,000 copies. If you do a google image search for the album title you will find 45,500 results. Forty years after its release the cover image is 15 times more popular on a search engine than the album was in the shops.

Bryter Layter features a more straight-forward pop sound than the albums before and after. Among the musicians turning Drake's compositions into band songs were members of Fairport Convention, The Beach Boys and John Cale from the Velvet Underground. The end result sounds slick and according to Drake himself "Too full, too elaborate". I'm inclined to agree. There are some beautiful songs and Nick's voice is a wonderful thing but there's too much going on that doesn't need to be there. I'd love to hear the demos he brought to the studio.

Ironically Drake's career was bound to become much Bryter Layter but he would never live to see it. I'm just glad the music public wised up and finally realised his music was worth hearing before it became lost entirely.

Influenced by: Bob Dylan and the English countryside.
Influenced: Pretty much nobody at the time but a lot of people since

Highlight: The title track
Lowlight: Poor Boy

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This is so totaly relaxing that it takes actually a few listens to notice a few annoying things:
- Nick can only sing in one voice
- Nick can only write lyrics that convey one kind of feeling
- Nick can only play the guitar in one particular way, and in one (quite particular) tuning"

-Ouch. That's kind of harsh. 

So do you love the Drake? Let me know below.

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